Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Holiday revelry

It is now officially the Fourth Holiday. Actually today has that designation, as far as I know, only in our household, and only somewhat facetiously. But we are in mild holiday revelry mode even now, enjoying that time that the Germans refer to as "between the years".

We kinda like to drag out the celebration of Christmas.

The festivities began on Christmas Eve. During the day, we were feverishly busy readying everything. By 5:00, we were all decked out in our holiday finery. Our recorder quartet quickly practiced our Advent medley one more time before we headed out the door to our church's Christmas Eve service.

As always, the service was beautiful, and ended with all of us circling the sanctuary, holding candles, and singing "Silent Night". (I sang it in private tradition...maybe someday I'll post the story.)

Then it was back home again, with a slight detour to enjoy some Christmas lights along the way. Our house is pretty well decked out this year as well, and it was wonderful to come home to all the lights.

Dinner was my traditional rolled chicken breasts that are seasoned and stuffed somewhat differently each year. This is not the traditional fare of my childhood, but it has become our neo-traditional fare.

Since it was Christams Eve, we were going to have a fire in the fireplace. Who cares that it was unseasonably hot, to the point that the weather reports had all joked about the summer weather? Who cares that we were all about to expire from the heat in the living room? There would be no breaking with tradition!

The present opening was fun, as always, and then we settled in to playing with the new toys, nibbling on an assortment of "munchies", and enjoying how beautiful everything looked by the light of the fire and the many candles.

Usually the children are allowed to stay up as late as they wish on Christmas Eve, but this year we wanted them to be able to rouse themselves in time for church, so we urged the younger ones to be in bed by midnight.

I was the first one up on Christams morning, but I was quickly joined by one or two of the little ones, whom I had to send upstairs so that I could fill the stockings. Then I was getting all the sleepyheads out of bed, taunting them, "If you were good little Americans, you'd be long up, clamoring for presents!"

"We are Americans!" protested one child, "but just not at Christmas!"

The older four kiddos were bewildered and amused to find cans of Dr. Pepper in their stockings. "Caffeine! I can really use this today!" said one. Then it turned out the cans were really "safes", designed to hide small valuables. Our daughter found this so hilarious that she took her "soda can" with her to church to show to friends.

Church, of course, was wonderful. I wish we always had Christmas Day services, no matter what day of the week...

Then it was home again, to prepare the Christmas feast, which featured delcious pork chops cooked in a pepper peach glaze.

My parents arrived that evening, in time for a buffet of "munchies" and snacks. The next day was what the Germans call the Second Holiday, and featured more feasting and celebration. Although there is no "Third Holiday", we still had one, and our stuffed cornish game hens were absolutely scrumptious!

I'm enjoying the fact that I've pretty much cleared my calendar and am able to hang out and enjoy this time, while gearing up for the new year.

Hope everyone else is still celebrating!

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